There is growing controversy that low-level exposures to chemicals and pesticides have caused increased incidences of reproductive system cancers, developmental abnormalities and physical deformities in wildlife and humans. Substances that cause these effects are called endocrine disrupters. The science to address endocrine issues is still developing, but poignant publications, such as Theo Colborn's Our Stolen Future, have fueled the controversy and increased public awareness about endocrine issues. EPA recently issued the “Special Report on Endocrine Disruption: An Effects Assessment and Analysis Document.” The report concluded that environmental contaminants can adversely affect animals and wildlife, but more research is warranted to determine the causal relationship between exposure and adverse health effects in humans. In August 1996, Congress enacted legislation that directed EPA to implement, by August 1999, a screening and testing program to evaluate chemicals and pesticides for endocrine effects. In October 1996, EPA convened a Federal Advisory Committee, EDSTAC (Endocrine Disrupter Screening and Testing Advisory Committee), of stakeholders and scientists from various activist groups, government and industry to assist them in the process.
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